Last month I was sitting in a cafe in Hollywood with a copy of Variety, a Hollywood newspaper that's good to read if you want to keep up with the film & TV industry news. I got the paper because my director friend said it can sometimes be a good place to find production jobs.
When I skimmed through the paper, other than Mel Brooks finally getting a star on the Walk Of Fame (long overdue if you ask me), the only thing that really jumped off the page was the Produced By Conference. The ad was well designed, and it was obviously the perfect place for me to go since I want to professionally direct and produce films one day.
This conference would no doubt cost a sizable chunk of change, but even though my bank account was skimpy, I decided to further investigate by visiting the Produced By Conference website. I gathered from the amazing line-up of speakers, mostly Hollywood producers, that this would be my networking heaven. With a general admission fee of $995, I didn't cringe. I just thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool if I could volunteer at this event! Never say never. I let that thought go, and went about my business. Drinking coffee and watching all the screenwriters tap tap tap away on their keyboards, and all the Final Cut editors bathe in the luminescence of their laptops in the crisp air conditioned cafe.
Two Weeks Later...
Liz, I have a friend you should meet. She's organizing this conference called Produced By, and I want to connect the two of you with the suggestion that you volunteer for the conference in exchange for a ticket. Have you heard of Produced By?
Awesome! Yes, I have. I was thinking how cool it would be to volunteer in exchange for a ticket, just about two weeks ago.
Seriously, I'm in a city of nearly 12 million people, and this happens! This is the universe working with the utmost intelligence. This is why you need to be careful of what you wish for, and be mindful of your thoughts. This is why you don't even need to say your wishes out loud.
So, I've been volunteering for the conference for almost a month, and I love it. I'm doing the average office admin that one does for an event, setting up spreadsheets and word docs. It sounds boring, but I love it. I'm absolutely passionate about film and I couldn't be happier. I even pulled an "all nighter" to help meet a deadline, and it was complete joy to be working so hard on something that meant a lot to me.
The conference is in a week, and these are the sessions that I'm planning on attending. I'll post an update in the aftermath. I can't wait!:
Conversation: Ted Turner - The Global Vision, Sponsored by The United Nations Foundation
Few individuals over the past quarter-century have made an impact on the global media landscape like producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner. From his early championing of the possibilities of cable television to his chairmanship of the United Nations Foundation, Turner has demonstrated an uncanny sensitivity to the messaging potential of media networks and a firm commitment to progressive, egalitarian and humanistic ideals. In this extraordinary session, the Produced By Conference invites Ted Turner to share his perspective on the complex relationship between media and its global audience, and offer insights on how the producing community can leverage its skills in the pursuit of a more perfect world.
Creating and sustaining 'tentpole' franchises has become one of the most important priorities of studios and distributors. This unique, top-notch session assembles some of the industry's most successful and prolific producers for a high-powered discussion on the nature of the contemporary blockbuster, including the challenges inherent in developing, budgeting, shooting and delivering these mega-blockbuster motion pictures.
Conversation: The Simpsons - Still Yellow After All These Years
Fox's landmark series and the longest-running comedy in TV history, "The Simpsons," has inspired a devotion that is unsurpassed in the annals of American popular culture. Key to the program's longevity has been the consistency of its unique voice, from its very beginnings to its current status as a multi-platform brand extending into film, games, merchandise and numerous other media. For this remarkable conversation, series producers James L. Brooks, Al Jean and Matt Selman join the Produced By Conference to discuss the challenges and rewards of producing and sustaining The Simpsons over the course of its 20-year tenure as America's unofficial funhouse mirror.
Conversation: Mark Gordon and Marshall Herskovitz - Where Do Producers Go From Here
As two of the most respected producers working today, Marshall Herskovitz and Mark Gordon are in a unique position to assess the nature of the challenges that face the producing profession today. In this no-holds-barred Conversation, Gordon and Herskovitz present a frank, funny and freewheeling picture of the producer's changing role in the industry, encompassing film, television and new media. This is the straight dope - check your illusions at the door; sacred cows enter at their own risk!
New Voices, New Stories, New Audiences
As national and global audiences grow in diversity and complexity, stories with diverse content are becoming an increasingly important element of studio slates and network schedules. At the same time, stories with diverse elements face an uphill struggle in the current industry marketplace. This panel brings together a collection of renowned producers to discuss their approach to overcoming these inherent obstacles through challenging script development and savvy project packaging.
Industry Insights: Power of the Producer to Effect Change, Sponsored by the United Nations Foundation
The opportunity to create entertainment for a national or global audience is a great privilege and a great responsibility. The films, television programs and new media projects created by producers have the power to move, inspire, and excite action. Sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, this special session will highlight the lifesaving work of the UN, and offer ways producers can help shine a spotlight on the world's toughest challenges. Open to any registrants who wish to attend (open seating on a first-come basis).
PGA Green: Calling All Producers
All of us have a role to play in solving the climate change crisis. But as producers, we are not just limited to the practices within our industry. Producers have the opportunity to communicate to the culture as a whole. What is the producer's role in taking the message to the 'unconvinced,' from the level of production sustainability, to the general public with not only the content we create, but ultimately to our government? Don't miss this urgent, inspirational and visionary conversation with some of the leading experts on the topic.
The Producers WIKI Live: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Producing But Didn't Know Who To Ask
Join this first-ever PGA "town-hall" meeting with an all-star group of producers and industry experts who will answer your questions on any aspect of the craft and business of producing film, television and new media. You bring the questions both in-person or online and we'll provide the answers. This session is a live version of the new PGA's Producers Wiki - a collaborative online project. The Producers Wiki will exhibit the power of our membership -the world's leading knowledge base of media production expertise - by utilizing the PGA's website as an interactive tool whereby members can resource each other for production advice, information, job references, etc. This Session will help launch the Producers Wiki as an unprecedented pipeline into the collective knowledge of the world's most experienced producers.